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The water, which is a part of the unknown earth that is alluded to in the Scriptures, I am inclined to understand
ings : while those of a rather evil disposition, experiencing in themselves the inconvenience of it, would be more inclined to study the knowledge of evil: I mean, to learn what evil is, where it lies, and wherefrom it proceeds, with a view to their own preservation against it. Both classes might succeed to acquire the knowledge they would particularly addict themselves to ; instead of remaining ignorant of either, as we seem to be. I believe the first would be in a condition more desirable than the second ; but from want of knowing in what evil consists, and all its errors, they would be exposed to be deceived, seduced, and led astray; neither would they be able to judge and attack the evil that would be in themselves; nor could they destroy it in their fellow creatures. And the others, on account of their ignorance of what is good, would not feel in themselves its fortunate counteraction against evil, could not enjoy the pleasures and consolations that come from the knowledge of good and from the practice of it,-would only know how to guard themselves against evil, and could but point out what it is, and what may preserve from it. In each of those classes there would be then a deficiency and an imperfection; so far that they could not be but partly useful to themselves and others. Among them it is probable that some, having felt the inconvenience of knowing but the knowledge that would have attracted them at first, would wish to be instructed in the other; and there can be no doubt that by acquiring it, and being enabled of partaking of the advantages of both, they would become superior to what they were, and, of course, to those who would possess but either of the two parts of the human philosophy. I believe they would be in the way of becoming complete philosophers; those that are of full age, and who, by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5. 14.): which I suppose cannot be fully attained without a deep knowledge of each ; and perhaps not without a degree of the spiritual or moral knowledge. I think they would be those that are mentioned in the Scripture as men, or as beings in a higher condition than those who, on account of their ignorance and imperfections, are spoken of only as beasts, cattle, fowl, ác. or as creatures inferior to men in knowledge as the good part of the opinion of one's self, that wherein there is simplicity; and as that part of the human mind or philosophy, which is the knowledge of good : a knowledge which I take to be persuasive, softening, refreshing, penetrating into the soul, cleansing her, instructive and deep. Though very inferior to the spiritual instructions, or to the waters upon which it is said that the spirit of God moves, Gen. 1. 2. it bas, by its simplicity and qualities some affinity with them; it partakes of their nature, the same as the water of our seas, rivers, springs, &c. bas a similarity with the water and dew from above, to which it may be inferior in quality. On the other hand, water wants solidity ; it may be muddy, bitter, diseasing,-it may overflow and destroy. So it may be with the best part of the opinion of one's self; which, though simple, is not, in a degenerate creature, without a degree of worldly pride, and consequently may be defective
and power: whose various spirits, tempers, and characters, are perhaps emblematical of those that, at times, appear in degenerate man, and over which his soul or double spirit ought to have dominion, and will have it, when by regeneration she will be again the image and likeness of God; Gen. 1. 26. Men of that description, able to discern the good and the evil they have in themselves, and prompted by that knowledge to cherish and improve the good, and to subdue the evil, which they would perceive and feel in their heart; able, likewise to open the eyes of others on the good and the evil that are in them, and to teach them the way to turn to their own advantage the knowledge of both; such, and only such, I should deem to be entitled to the highly respectable name of philosophers : on account of their having acquired the most important, the most useful, I may add, the most difficult of all human sciences : perhaps the only one worth studying, at any rate, not to be confounded nor assimilated with the vain notions that are valued among us as philosophical.
in him, and also with the philosophical knowledges that belong to the knowledge of good, which may have great qualities; and may also, from want of proper instructions, be deficient in solidity, clearness, &c. and have defects and imperfections. If ministered with judgement and seasonable discretion, they may do much good; if given imprudently, and in too great abundance, to a ground or heart not sufficiently prepared to receive them, they may do much harm.
By the dry land, I should understand the other and evil part of the opinion of oneself, that wherein pride seems to be prevalent; and the part of the human and philosophical system, which is the knowledge of evil: a dry opinion and knowledge, which seems barren in itself, bearing imperfect productions, Galatians, 5. 19, 20, 21, as a sandy soil; but which being cultivated, tilled, manured, weeded of its errors, watered, or mixed, with simple opinions, and with the knowledges that proceed from what is good ; and favoured with, or gently penetrated by, the instructions that come from the spiritual knowledge, may benefit by them, as well as by the labour bestowed on it, and may become exceedingly fruitful and advantageous to the inward man or the soul.
Believing that the heaven and the earth alluded to in the first verse of Genesis, are the same as those mentioned in Zechariah, 12. 1. of which I take the spirit within man to be formed, this is the way that I feel inclined to understand that first verse, which I consider as a key to the whole Scripture.
In the knowledge that is the beginning of the true science, or in the scientific matter which the Almighty
created the first, or at first, and whích is also the beginning and the agent of the formation of the spirit in man, and likewise of the regeneration of the soul, God created the spirit of the heaven, and the spirit of the earth, or of the world; or the spiritual mind, and the human mind; or life, and death ; or the spirit, and the flesh that is the human or the philosophical part of the soul; or the superior and the inferior spirits ; or the knowledge of immortality, and that of mortality; or the moral opinion that refers to God, and the human opinion of oneself; or the spiritual system, and the human system, or the substance of spirituality, and the substance of humanity.*
It has been only on the 31st of July, 1827, some time after I had finished this extract, that I have heard that the first verse of Genesis literally translated stands thus : In the beginning the Gods created the substance of the heaven and the substance of the earth. Why in the Latin, French, and English version it has been translated otherwise, I know not. Commentators have admitted that the Hebrew word Elohim or Aleim, which has been translated God, is in the plural number; and they have given it as their opinion that by the Gods the three Persons of the Trinity are meant. The reasons they have adduced in support of that sentiment have not appeared to me quite satisfactory. I rather imagine that by the Gods we ought to understand the seven Spirits of God spoken of in Revelation, 4.5. As I do not find them specified, I am at a loss to say what they are : however, as we read of the wisdom of God, His justice, mercy, grace, goodness, truth, love, &c. I think I may understand that His seven Spirits are seven of His attributes which comprehend all virtues as perfections; and that in the creation of man and formation of the spirit within him, those seven Divine Spirits deliberated within God, holding as to say a Supreme Council of Gods, and acted in concert to beget spirits to His image and likeness in whatever is good : I do not mean complete images of His own; for though they were His figures or re
I beg leave, Theophila, to observe to you that, as it is said in Genesis, 1. 2. that the earth was without form
presentatives in a very great degree, it is evident, from the Sacred History, that He had not finished them, since He had not given them yet the knowledge of good and evil, nor that of life; neither the eternal life, the highest life, superior to the philosophical and the spiritual. None of us can deny that his spirit, though degenerate, is still formed of various spirits, some good, some bad, which, when we are intent on a work of importance, seem to us to consult together within us, adducing their reasons for or against, and at last coming to a decision, according as the good, or the bad, prevails in us. All the Spirits of God being most perfect, I cannot suppose that they had to discuss together respecting the creation of man, or men ; but I believe that in the formation of the spirit within them, they all acted in unison and contributed to it. Whether the words One of Us, Genesis, 3. 22. allude to the Father, or to the Son, or to the Holy Ghost, or to one of the seven Spirits of God, I cannot tell. In another place you will find my views concerning the Holy Trinity.
From what is said, that when God created man to His image, He made him male and female, it would seem that in God there are spiritually the two forms; which, perhaps, answer to His wisdom and foolishness, 1 Corinthians, 1. 24, 25, and to the spirit and flesh in man, or to his spiritual and human minds. There may be likewise in the Spirit God a form that unites both and is superior to each of them singly. It is possible that, according to the wants or circumstances of every one of His creatures, He operates on their spirit, with either of the three forms or spirits that may be in Him, or with all three together: or also with any one of His seven Spirits, or with two, three, or all, combined together, according as they are able to bear it.
The opinion entertained by some that, God being a Spirit, there are no parts in Him seems at variance with Exodus, 33. 23. that speaks of His back parts, and implies that He has likewise fore and other parts ; for we read of His right hand and His left. Cannot, also, the seven Spirits mentioned in several places, be looked upon as parts or members of His Spirit: as His Spirit's eyes, ears, arms, hands, finger, foot, &c. ?